This company started making electric vehicles 20 years ago. The EVs were highly developed, had a range of 100 miles which wasn’t great but made them popular for short commutes, and sold as many as it could make. The cars were mostly owned by celebrities and actors who praised them at every opportunity. Free advertising. They were built in response to California’s mandate that required car manufacturers to offer zero-emissions cars to be able to also sell conventional cars. Then the company killed the electric car in 2001. Now it’s trying to lure EV investors to give it some of their money.
While this company was producing the electric car it spent millions to develop it was also lobbying California to weaken or kill the zero-emissions law. Sort of like shooting yourself in the foot, right? When it was successful in mostly killing the law its CEO immediately stopped production of the EVs. A few years later this CEO was ousted from his company. Years later, he joined the board of directors for a company that sells and maintains charging stations for electric cars.
The company that killed its EV is now holding a conference to lure EV investors
Now that same company is hosting an investor conference in New York today according to Reuters. It’s doing this to convince shareholders it is at the forefront of EV manufacturing. But it’s also doing this because Tesla, which developed EVs and believed in them enough to build a business plan and company around its manufacturing and use, is valued at more than three times the company hosting the conference. That company is General Motors. The former GM CEO that finally found the electric light is Rick Wagoner.
The GM EV1 story is fairly well known. Probably because of the irony in its idiotic decisions and maneuvering involving the EV1-the first modern electric car. Of course, there’s more to the story. GM would only lease the EV1. When it decided to kill it GM didn’t want it used to invite copies. So, it forced the return of the over 1,000 EV1 cars it made and had them all destroyed.
GM killed the EV1 to keep it out of the hands of possible copiers
At the time it said it was a liability issue but if liability was an issue it would never have produced them for the public. Actually, it would never manufacture anything if that were its concern. No, it did this to keep what it had developed out of the hands of those who could profit from the leap GM made. It was selfish, stupid, and wasteful on a number of levels.
Now, GM is telling the investment world that it is so woke. The irony is that Suburbans, Cadillac sedans, and small Chevys can’t do that. But there really is money to be made and a future in EVs. The brain trust at GM had everything to make them over 20 years ago. It laid the groundwork for them. Then it snuffed them out so barely a trace is left.
GM will have to gloss over Tesla valued at $160 billion versus its $49 billion value
Now we’ve got the investor conference where GM is glossing over that it is valued at $49 billion while Tesla is valued at $160 billion. Tesla didn’t even exist until two years after GM killed the EV1. Also, it didn’t produce a single vehicle until a few months before GM filed for bankruptcy.
If you’re an investor can you really trust GM’s decision making? After it went bankrupt in 2009 it restructured as a “different, more honest, humble” company. It was ready to make better and more environmentally-friendly vehicles. But a lot of the same people are there or left their mark and culture there. So what has changed? It’s hard to say other than Tesla, Rivian, and other companies have jumped into the huge chasm GM created. They’ve become much higher valued than GM. Investors view GM as in a malaise while they see EVs as electrifying-no pun intended.
The Toyota Prius is an example of a new type of car developed with the whole company behind it
The Toyota Prius came out the same year as the EV1. Toyota believed in it and put the company behind it. The Prius laid the foundation for environmentally engineered vehicles. Toyota has sold over two million of them. Instead of GM doing the same for the EV1, it kneecapped it so it could continue to sell what it always sold. Its brain trust didn’t use their brains.
We hope GM has luck in convincing investors it’s all about EVs because it has a dark history of being something other than that.